There is nothing my soul craves more right now than the purity of simple silence.
Turn off the television. Hide the phone. Ignore Facebook. Give your ears a break from the iPod.
When was the last time you heard yourself take a breath? When you paused to appreciate the intricate nature of the clouds in the sky? When the sunset took you by surprise?
Right now, the sound of young boys playing basketball wafts through my open kitchen window. Bugsy, my white Shi-Tzu, grumpy-old-man dog, sits contentedly on the back of the couch, secure in the knowledge that the neighborhood is safe for the moment. I feel more than hear the wheezing in my chest as I take another labored inhalation. Benny is alert to the smallest movement. That’s the Chihuahua in him.
There are dishes undone, mail to be dealt with, shoes to be put away. All the “shoulds” of my life crowd around me, attempting to invade this tranquil space. Not right now. I’m going to take a moment to just…be.
This is the time of day I like best, and the time I so often fail to observe. I recall being once told that this hazy, dusky moment, before the shroud of night descends, is the “time between times.” The earth settles like a grand old queen upon her throne. She is content. She is resplendent. She allows herself one last showy parade before taking up her quieter crown of stars.
The last rays of pale sunlight pour silkily through the windows, draping all they touch in the thinnest of gauzes. If I sit perfectly still I can feel myself most at home. I can disappear in this eerie world, left to observe and settle.
The grass in the backyard is weather-beaten, baked into fine strands of white. New growth brazenly shoots among the deadness, the harbingers of yet another spring to come. Present, but not yet. The tangible tension of the changing of the seasons. The trees stand yet bare, the tiniest hints of buds peppering their branches. Present, but not yet.
If I could capture this moment, I would put it in a box tied with a purple ribbon. I would tuck it away for those difficult days when I feel so lost, so unsure, so…hurt. I would unwrap it and take just the shortest peek. Savor the briefest scent. I would let the peace, the tranquility wash over my aching bones for the merest space of time. That would be enough.
Some feel God in the grand gestures. He is like fireworks to them. I do not understand that. I feel God in the lost moments that are all too easily glossed over. I do not need thunders and lightenings, or grand pronouncements. I need the silence. I need to think. To write. To pray.
To simply breathe.
I need these moments of utter stillness perhaps more than anything else in life. This has to be why I feel so nakedly out of place in the day-to-day business of living. I would like to sit and reflect upon the intricacy of a spider’s web (though I would not like to see the spider). I do not want to devour books. I want to linger over them. I do not want the Internet on my phone, and quite often the incessant “pinging” of an incoming text messages makes me want to throw the phone away altogether. I want to be connected, but not to that extent. Sometimes, I just want to slip away.
I want to give my imagination free reign. Kick off my shoes and feel the earth beneath my weary feet. Listen to the crystalline chirping of a bird. Close my eyes and just feel. Whatever I want to feel. Let a few tears slip down my cheeks, without the need to explain them. I want to be a quiet, humble part of everything around me, and, in so doing, reach out with all that is within me to my Creator.
This frenetic pace we keep? Could it be that we are running from something that we don’t wish to acknowledge? It cannot possibly be healthy to be ever updating, ever texting, ever flitting from place to place. My head rings from the incessant chatter. Surely yours does, too. I fail to see how I could be the only one.
A red-chested little bird looks at me through the slider door. He’s strutting the concrete patio quite proudly. He owns the place. I’m nothing more than a squatter. He looks at me. Nothing interesting to him. Haughtily he turns aside, back to his wobbling little gait.
The sunset is fading tonight. No brilliant splashes of reds, golds or purples. That seems fitting somehow. It matches my mood. Washed out. Burnt out. No show left to give. The curtain call for a long and winding week.
There is deep significance in the silence, in the stillness. It is the one time throughout the entirety of my day that I have to turn my head to the side and let all my thoughts trail lazily out of my ear. I don’t need them right now. It’s acceptable to be a blank in this moment. I don’t have to have any answers. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to plan. I don’t have to do anything but stretch and listen to the sound of my own heartbeat.
Can you feel it? Can you connect with this deep need to lapse in movement? It is a deeply, richly, human thing. It is a mark of our weakness. Perhaps that is what we run from. Be still and know that He is God. I am not. The I AM continues to be, all without my help. Be still.
The light begins to fade. The dog barks, and the spell is broken. Street lamps switch on, and the high-gear world comes back into focus. I am out of place once more, forced to take part in a dance I don’t understand.
Dusk is my home, and it is my friend.